What do I charge my client to be his in house video producer...........
I run a small one man band video production company, mostly do weddings, realty video and other small odds and end projects. Recently I've been asked to be the video go to guy for a local businessman, he's a performing singer-songwriter, has a small record label, does a web radio show and runs a talent agency providing bookings for local events here on the gulf coast. We've known each other for many years.
He's asked me to to be their official video producer. I would be shooting and editing content that would be posted on their websites, YouTube page and podcast site on a weekly basis. Projects would include, taping local live performances, doing a two or three camera podcast of radio show, many 30 second and one minute spots, producing simple videos with a picture overlaid with lyrics to the songs he's written and possibly some music videos.
He's on a budget and has asked me what I need to make to do this. He cannot afford my standard rates, but the plan is to gradually make more money as his business expands. I was thinking somewhere between $25 and $50 dollars an hour, does anybody have any thoughts on this?
M44 Video Productions
Well, not to be Mr. Glass is Half Empty, but...
[James Duncan] "..the plan is to gradually make more money as his business expands."
You know that virtually never happens with those kinds of deals, right?
[James Duncan] "I was thinking somewhere between $25 and $50 dollars an hour..."
Does that even remotely cover your expenses?
At first blush, this sounds like one of those projects where, if you just want to do it for the fun of it, because it's a subject that interests you, and you'd enjoy it... then go for it.
On the other hand, if you are looking at this as a make-a-living and pay-the-bills gig and hope hope that someday it turns into a cash cow, I'd say the odds of that are extremely slim. In that case you would be better served walking away and concentrating that time on other gigs that do make money, or even just working on your own marketing in that time. That part won't make you any money, but at least you wouldn't be in the hole.
It sounds to me like you're going to lose money... and definitely not make any.
Just my thoughts, but I'm cynical (although I think cynical for a reason).
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
[James Duncan] "He cannot afford my standard rates, but the plan is to gradually make more money as his business expands. I was thinking somewhere between $25 and $50 dollars an hour, does anybody have any thoughts on this?"
Gradually making more money as the business expands is a 1 in a million proposition.
If you can make money with enough volume from this client charging $50/hour then do that. If you can't, then put the hourly rate where you can actually make money covering all necessary expenses including driving wherever you need to go.
Walter Biscardi, Jr.
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Thanks for replying guys..........Everything you've mentioned are my concerns as well........I like the fact of steady work and doing something that's normally outside my box. I would still be able to do my business as usual as well as projects for him. I don't mind making less as long as the compensation is worth while, like I said I'm a small operator and don't try to compete with the big production companies.
[James Duncan] "Projects would include, taping local live performances, doing a two or three camera podcast of radio show, many 30 second and one minute spots, "
What kind of deliverable and quality is he expecting? Recording of local live performances is actually not that easy of work. He wants more than a static wide shot in the back of the room with the wild sound. He wants professional video. Maybe he does not understand that he's looking at 16 hours of work, which at your reduced rate is still a chunk of cash, $800 per video. I arrived at 16 hours because 1 hour set up. 1 hour to take down. 3 hour show. That's 5 hours. Then there's 3 hours of footage to wade through, and 3 hours of audio. That's 11 hours and the editing hasn't even begun!
If you add two or three cameras, then you have doubled or tripled respectively, the amount of content you have to wade through to make a cut. That 3 hours of footage just jumped to 6 or 9.
I suggest managing expectations and budget realities in a very real way, in a business conversation. Find youtube example videos of what he wants the deliverable to be. And be able to explain how the video was made and the time involved.
Let's suppose these musicians play in bars, and there are drunk people at bars, and your camera or light falls on one of them (or they stumble into it), who pays for the damages to (a) your equipment, (b) the medical bills. Now your budget reality needs to account for loss payee insurance and general liability insurance.
There are some other interesting copyright issues to figure out because if the musician plays a song written by someone other than the musician, whether in fact you have the legal right to record that song is not in your favor, and you would bear personal liability.
I would not record without all of these issues being figured out in advance and a 50% deposit (or all hard costs, whichever is more) up front.
Recording the podcast will be with 2 cameras, maybe 3, it will be shot using 2 of my old SD cameras that have been gathering dust. The switcher will be provided by him, for now SD quality is fine for the podcast.
Client is a local celebrity and all songs performed during his shows are written by him, so copyright wont be an issue. Shows will be shot and uploaded in HD, captured with 2 or 3 cameras and multicam edited in Sony Vegas. Compensation for shows shot locally will be what we agree on to work for him, bigger shows and concerts (2 already booked) I will be payed my regular rate.
you do bring up some valid concerns with liability.
[James Duncan] "you do bring up some valid concerns with liability.
Mr. Biscardi has taught me well (reading his posts and implementing his model :)
I've had a few of those "offers" with local record companies, and in the end I realized that was being asked to invest into their business, without getting an ownership or even any kind of payment.
The first thing that you are told is that the video will make them no money and therefore there are no serious budget for it. WRONG: The music won't make money without marketing, hence the video - in essence, the music producer needs you more, than you need them. They might not agree with this (read: have readily available money).
When all that is said, there are nothing wrong with giving an hourly price of what-ever you feel comfortable with. Maybe to make it more tangible for the client, you should consider constructing the 3-4 most likely scenarios and give a package price on each of those - at least the client won't call you if they only have 1/2 the budget for 3 camera production.
Now, if the client is good at spotting talent, you may want to consider a contractual reduction in your fees in return for copyright and all performers signed releases to your firm. As in that the client can only use the final product as is, and you get the rights to use the source footage as you see fit + charge the client for future versions of the videos.
In this scenario, if lucky, you may be holding the early footage of the next Michael Jackson, Madonna or similar, which could be a very good position to be in - but only works if the client is good at picking acts...
Just a thought, hope that it helps.
All the Best
@madsvid, London, UK
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Mads makes an excellent point: watch out for the phrase: "work for hire" in the contract. You want a clause that spells out the client only pays for the finished master and you retain the rights and ownership of the raw footage.
The other guys have hinted at this, but I'll flat out say it: I think he's playing you, with that talk of upping your income over time. Nobody believes Wimpy when he says: "I will gladly pay you Tuesday, for a hamburger today."
If you like working on these things for fun, consider not charging anything at all, but always send an invoice that shows the hours you put in and what they would be worth at your standard hourly or day rate. Now if the guy brags about using you, he's bragging while telling other people your real rate, not that you're doing it free. If another person asks you to work for them on something, you can say: "that case was a freebie for a friend, the going rate is this-and-such".
Word gets around, always does, and every other client will demand to pay the same pittance wage they heard this guy is paying you. You will never get ahead financially with this effect crippling your negotiation ability to get a reasonable rate. Doing the gigs for free puts YOU in the drivers' seat regarding if and when you feel like showing up, and if and when you deliver, and how much re-editing or repeated changes you will put up with. If you're doing it for pay, even sub-minimum-wage pay, now the guy owns you, and you have a responsibility, legally, to deliver him a product to his satisfaction, even when it costs you time and loses you money.
KNOW YOUR REAL RATE, AND NEVER UNDERCUT YOURSELF!
When you've worked out all the factors and reached your true rate, this becomes a number you can't afford to go below. I knew of a guy back in the glory days of the Video Toaster, that used to say, all the time: "I don't turn the machine ON for less than a grand." That wasn't a brag: he knew that for his operation to remain profitable, it paid him better to be out drumming up better-paying business, or practicing new techniques, or networking contacts, than sitting in the edit room tying up his gear for a lowball price.
If you are trying to make a living at this, stay firm on the hourly rate, and beyond that, i'd insist on half up front (or at least the best guess on the hours spent shooting) and the rest/other half on delivery. You don't start the next job until the check for the previous one clears. That's just business 101.
If he balks, ask him if he's somehow convinced his grocery store and gas station of choice to get paid this same way, or is it cash on delivery, no credit. You're not his bank, making free loans.